In what seems like a cruel irony of fate, I am only discovering my ordinariness now – few years too late! When you grow up in India, it is hard to believe that you are anything but extraordinary. A part of this delusion emanates from living under the aegis of Indian parents, ever so often longer than it ought to be. Indian parents are a rare breed. They are meticulous planners, often to the point of obsession, and even before their child is born, they have an entire career chalked out for him/her (other pronouns don’t exist in their imagination).
For the uninitiated, the veracity of my claim can be confirmed by spending an evening watching a mainstream Hindi film. Alternatively, try talking to a fellow classmate from this part of the world and you’ll know why half of us end up doing what we do. But it’s not as grim as it sounds. There are unusual perks of being born in an Indian family. In exchange for carrying the weight of parental expectations on your shoulders, you have an unending supply of mouth-watering delicacies and frequent bouts of pampering. Even your laundry is done and hefty tuition fees paid for. Mine are no different.
I, in return, turned out to be the epitome of a ‘perfect’ kid or as perfect as it could get as per the prescribed notions of Indian-ness. I would routinely stand first in my class, win accolades in ‘acceptable’ extra-curricular activities and remained very much rooted in my culture, maintaining strict social distancing from ‘those immoral kids’. As was expected of me, I went on to study at some of the best universities in India and abroad, consistently ranking amidst the toppers in my cohort. I was a certified success. How could I not be? I was the custodian of a million dreams, some of which I cannot recall exactly as to when they became mine!